Standard Protective Order

Standard Protective Order

I have to say that your comment site and procedure are utterly baffling. I have no idea whether I am actually commenting on what I want to comment on.


I think that the Standard Protective Order concept is a good one. However, I have several issues based on my experience as both in-house and as outside counsel.


If a party to a Board proceeding wants to be represented by in-house counsel that is fine with me. But I am troubled by producing competitively-sensitive documents to in-house counsel. The reason is that most in-house counsel also play a business role, and if I produce sensitive sales, financial and other data they cannot erase that knowledge from their memory. Also, there is no requirement that in-house counsel treat such information under "lock and key" so that business people cannot get access to it. When I was in-house I kept all such information in a locked file cabinet and only I had the key.


Second, here in California it is illegal to provide personal information about employees to third parties even with a protective order. While that should not be an issue in trademark cases, in my experience some folks have demanded personnel files (and I have refused.) I think it would be unwise for the Board to sanction the disclosure of such information even under the standard protective order.


I guess a final comment reflects one of my pet peeves about Board proceedings. Absent sanctions authority, the protective order is merely words on paper. I understand the Board's view that its sanctions authority is circumscribed by Congress, but the absence of meaningful "teeth" requires litigants to make a gigantic "leap of faith" that their adversary will play by the rules because there are not really any adverse consequences to doing otherwise.


Yours sincerely,


/paul reidl/


Law Office of Paul W. Reidl

Second Floor

241 Eagle Trace Drive

Half Moon Bay, CA 94019



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Idea No. 15